As Rachel and I work on the edits for our next book in the Chicagoland Shifters series, TIGER TIGER, I am reminded about the challenges of worldbuilding. BURNING BRIGHT, the first in the series, came out more than 18 months ago. In the time since then, we’ve written more material in that universe but also others. As we edit TIGER TIGER, we have to remind ourselves of conventions we developed for our characters and setting.
One of the ways we do that is to write a Concordance, where we keep all the material in one place. We include a glossary of foreign words we use (plemya for bear shifter clan, for example), conventions we’ve developed (the Factory vs. The Factory), and editing requirements for this particular editor and House.
What are some of your favorite worlds in books? I think, if you look closely, this sort of attention to detail is what lends the particular world its sense of authenticity. Mercedes Lackey’s series The Last Herald-Mage establishes the way that characters refer to homosexuality. One of the cultures he encounters look at homosexual relationships as a normal iteration of human interaction and have a term for it in their language. Fast-forward to several hundred years in the future of the story and another series (Mage Storms) and the characters use a shortened form of the foreign word to refer to such relationships. This kind of intrastory consistency is what makes for good worldbuilding and is, frankly, fun to read.
It’s a lot of work, though. ~grin~
What are some of your favorite worldbuilding examples?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings
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